Rose Colored Glasses: Crankenstein, An Ode

Apart from coffee shops, bars are the next best bet for a good atmosphere, a private corner, just-the-right-amount of people-watching, and a bit of down if the coffee took you too high. It's with bittersweetness that I write this first post of the Rose Colored Glasses Series for Crankenstein, one of my favorite spots in Old Town, Fort Collins because it has celebrated it's last business day--hopefully, it's only a temporary hiatus!

The community really came out for the last night of this bike shop/coffee roaster/bar. It was so nice to see all the support, and so many people that I've come to know. 

Everyone loved Crankenstein because it combined three of Fort Collins' most sacred things: Bikes, food, beer and coffee. You could ride your bike to Crank, get it tuned up, park it inside, meet some friends for a beer or grab a cup of coffee to go. 

Crankenstein's space was incredible: High, lofted ceilings, a garage front entrance, and those warm, reclaimed wood walls. 

I liked to visit for the large couches and armchairs--it was like working from home.

This is Dylan, a strong climber and a good friend.
My friends and I once spent an evening on the couches at Crank eating Oreos and drinking coffee porters for dinner. On the last night, Crank emptied all its taps for a "good to the last drop" hoorah. 

Do you ever go to a bar to do work? Where are your creative spaces? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

The Daily Grind: Coal Creek Coffee Co.

In my last post, What's On My Desk, I showed you guys my at-home workspace (thank you for the kind comments and general love!). To be honest though, I do the majority of my writing in a carefully-curated rotation of coffee shops. Like most people, I develop a serious case of depresso when I haven't had my morning Americano. That's why I'm so excited to feature some of my favorite coffee house haunts!

Mike and I took a small trip north to his hometown, Laramie, Wyoming, when a freak snowstorm blew in, closed down all the roads back to Colorado, and left us stranded in this tiny, cowboy town. Thankfully, we were welcomed by friends and Coal Creek Coffee Company where we stayed basically until closing.

Besides the atmosphere and the coffeehouse tunes, I go to cafes to work because I'm not staring at the wall in front of my bedroom desk. People-watching is productive!

This is our friend, Conner. He's a graphic designer, and a Coal Creek barista, and is going to school for film.
Written on the cafe tables in Sharpie marker, faded in spots by countless arms and mugs, are some of the best coffee quotes I've seen, like:

"All necessary food groups: caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and fat." 

These stickers almost made me cry with laughter. 

Ain't it the truth!
They're a fan of the outdoors too. I snagged a pair of SockGuy Coal Creek Coffee socks because I was unprepared for that snowstorm and my feet were soaked!

Guess what? Mike doesn't drink coffee. I met the kid at one of my favorite coffee roasters in Fort Collins where he was a barista, and he doesn't drink coffee. 
So he was happy with this old-school Coca-Cola.

Coffee houses are near and dear to my heart, but so are bars, so look out for a similar series on NoCo bars that are excellent for a beer and a book! 

If you want to stay super connected, you can follow Ellipsis on Bloglovin'. Just hit the button at the top right. As always, thanks for joining!

What’s On My Desk (And, well, around it), Volume I

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I’m a writer, and it’s taken me a while to admit to the label? Title? Job description? Anyway, I should be honest: I cleaned up for you guys. You know when you’re expecting a guest, you tend to care a bit more, so my desk is usually messier than this. 




Most of the items around my desk have a story that I’d love to share. 

1. My best friend gave me this small, hand-carved wooden chest when we were 19. It was right before she made the brave move from our hometown in Connecticut to Wyoming, all alone. We wrote letters to each other, but now it’s filled with letters, postcards, and holiday wishes from all my buddies.

2. Believe it or not, this beautiful tree was my trophy for winning an axe-throwing competition at a local fair in CT. That’s right, an axe-throwing competition. A national lumberjack champion carved my prize from a trunk with a chainsaw. See the pic of me in action after the jump!

3. My boyfriend, Mike, who was sleeping in my bed during this shoot by the way, contributed the dinosaur, his annual Christmas tree topper. Not that you need a reason to include a dinosaur.

4. I picked up this piece of sandstone in Indian Creek, Moab, Utah. Our group of crack climbers headed back to camp from a day at the crag when I noticed these fragments of sandstone with teal polka dots. Though I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon (shhh), I took a piece of the incredible desert landscape home with me. Become a member of the foundation Friends of Indian Creek to preserve the landscape, and promote responsible climbing and camping!

 5. Three of my favorite books, enough said.

6. On one special trip to Brooklyn to visit my buddy, we dug through a trough of abandoned photographs, elbow deep, at a flea market. For fifty cents, I picked up this photograph of a train because I’m obsessed with them. The ceramic bottle was cast from a found, vintage original by a local Fort Collins artist. 

My room is pretty small in size, and although my desk space isn't crowded with things, I've decided to split this post into two installments. So in this post, you've heard the stories of the things on my desk, and if you care to stick around, I'll tell you the stories of the things on my wall in volume II.

Also, if you're curious, I built my desk at IKEA for less than $100. Petite Modern Life has a really helpful post for doing this, and I bought that sweet desk lamp at good 'ole Target. 

As always, thanks for joining!

Here I am with my lumberjack mentor Mike (r.) and my winning "trophy!" Circa 2009.

Little Dirt Never Hurt

Last night, my buddies and I passed a tin cup of whiskey-ginger by a campfire, and today, we set out to do some laid-back, casual climbing in the Poudre Canyon. This area of the canyon is called The Palace, and to get to it, we had to cross the Poudre River. 

The snow is melting in the mountains, and the water was wicked cold. My feet and legs went stiff pretty quick, but on the way back, the sun warmed the water, and the river felt refreshing.

I met a new friend studying aerospace engineering in Boulder, climbed a route called “Monstrosity,” and received some kisses from an adorable crag-pup.

This is JR, my new climbing friend. He's from Texas.
The best part about spending the day climbing, besides exploring new backcountry, is meeting fellow adventurers and swapping stories.

Guidebook in hand, high above the canyon. 
I’ve decided to take a road trip to Sedona, Arizona this weekend for some wilderness exploration, and I can’t wait to share it!


Here's me, hanging off the edge of something high, as usual.

Hey there! My name’s Mandi, and thanks for joining Ellipsis: Backcountry and Books for its inaugural post!

I’m a writer and a reader, a rock climber, a maker, a photographer, and an explorer of new things. This May, I graduate with my MFA in creative writing, and I couldn’t be more excited to start a new chapter (unavoidable cheesy pun).

Many of you know ellipsis as the punctuation: dot-dot-dot. In Ancient Greek, it represented an omission or falling short. In English, we use it to indicate an unfinished thought, or a nervous, awkward silence, and at the beginning or end of a sentence, the kind of cute dot-dot-dot can even inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing.

But the ellipsis isn’t always down in the dumps! Ellipsis also represents a leading statement or a thoughtful pause. Most recently, the ellipsis has had a bad time among lit buffs. Poor ellipsis is downright bullied by those who think it’s a mere cop-out. As if you don’t have the chutzpah to say what you mean. But I’m for the underdog, and the ellipsis, for me, is a symbol of things to come, of the suspense of life, and thoughts left to the imagination.

My life has been one great adventure, big and small, and I’ve started Ellipsis as a way to share it all. There are so many creative, inspiring people who have been kind enough to share their stories and their success on the blogosphere, and it’s hard to find that time and the dedication, but nothing we do in life is valued more than when it is shared.

So, what kind of posts can you expect from this blog?
  • Photo explorations into the wild
  • Bouts of wanderlust and quiet moments at the desk 
  • Inspiration from the outbound: hiking, climbing, camping, and traveling
  • Writing and reading experiences
  • Book nooks and fly supplies from some of the raddest small businesses
On Saturday, I went climbing in the Poudre River Canyon in Colorado, and can’t wait to share some of the pictures from this adventure, and the many more adventures to come.

This is my little lion, Kinley Kitty, just hanging around Ellipsis.